Tabu is an actress of her own league who has kept her relevant from time to time when most of her contemporaries have taken the reality show and television route. She’s still the most unique in her business and has kept us all captivated with her various acts that mesmerize is even till date. Tabu is considered as a actress who has always taken risks which no other actress has before. From last year’s ‘Golmaal’ to this year where she features as a lead actress in ‘Missing’ starring Manoj Bajpayee and Annu Kapoor, her variations make her a promising contender even today.
We chatted with the ever so graceful Tabu regarding her films, her co-star Manoj Bajpayee and much more. Here’s what we found out:
Q. What was that something about your character in ‘Missing’ that intrigued you the most?
Tabu: It has every emotion possible in the woman whom I’m portraying. The way Mukul (Abhyankar – director) has conceived and drafted the character, it was flawless.
Q. You’ve accorded of doing roles when as an actor you get to learn something new or if there’s a director with whom you want to work with. What’s that something that attracted you for your role in ‘Missing’?
Tabu: The story was really different and the approach was really unique. Mukul (director) wants to convince the film in a certain pace. The characters themselves and the relationships between them are very interesting. Their relationships change with every twist that appears.
Q. Tabu, you’ve done films like ‘Drishyam’, ‘Cheeni Kum’, earlier you were selective but now will you cash on the success of a film like ‘Golmaal’?
Tabu: If I like an offer for a role in a film, I’ll do it and I don’t like it, I won’t do it.
Q. Female characters are coming to the fore in Hindi cinema, you’ve been a part of that league since ‘Astitva’, ‘Chandni Bar’ and ‘Kaala Pani’, what do you have to say about this change?
Tabu: I don’t know about why the change has come but I know why I did those kind of films. I was very convinced about playing those characters and their contribution in my growth as an actor. I was not afraid to played those layered or immoral roles. I’m glad that people have become more accepting of female characters who aren’t just the ‘nice’ women but also those who have layers to them and have dark shades to them. They don’t necessarily need to have to fit in the ‘Miss goodie to shoes’ bracket. Apart from the audiences, the society has become more accepting of women in our lives to have layers.
Q. From ‘Ruk Ruk Ruk’ to the electrifying content driven roles that you did. Where you waiting for a change to happen for you back then? Did you ever feel a disconnect between commercial and realistic cinema?
Tabu: I wasn’t waiting for any such opportunity, but when it came to me, I recognized it. I was too young to understand any of these things. I had just come from Hyderabad and didn’t have any clue of what commercial or parallel or anything else meant. As a person, what I wanted to do and what I liked to do and establish myself in, was clear in my head. My convictions about myself and the kind of work I wanted to do were always very strong. When those roles came to me, I didn’t think twice about doing them because I knew these were the platforms I wanted to express myself through. There was something more that I always wanted to say. I got a chance to do that. I wanted to act in a particular way which wasn’t the way everybody expects me to perform in. I didn’t understand why it was difficult for people to allow me to do that. I didn’t understand why it was important for women in our films to be so good and nice and why couldn’t she have layers to her which expose her darker side. So when these roles came to me, I feel fortunate that they came to me. It was films like ‘Maqbool’, ‘Astitiva’, and others which just grabbed me. I wanted to be that way and wanted to make it ok for myself to be doing this. I didn’t set out to create a certain space, it just happened.
Q. Weren’t you afraid of being judged when you did those bold roles?
Tabu: I wouldn’t have done them if I cared about being judged. I just knew that I would have a great experience as a person and as an actor.
Q. You’ve given a Golmaal last year and your next will be a rom-com with Ajay Devgn. Are you in anyway going back to the ‘Ruk Ruk Ruk’ times?
Tabu: There’s nothing like going back to a time. It’s not back and forth. You’re just standing in one place and traveling in your journey of life. Finally it’s a circle where you’re going round and round. As an actor and a person you’re just growing. My intention has always been to keep growing and have good experiences.
Q. What do you like doing most?
Tabu: I like to have good experiences with the people that I am working with.
Q. Are there any scenes that make you nervous before performing them?
Tabu: Action! When I am told to jump from the 3rd floor, then it definitely becomes difficult. I have done such sequences in films like ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’, ‘Jaal’ and others. I have been wounded a lot of times. I’ve got stitches. I get scared a lot.
Q. What is your most memorable scene?
Tabu: How can I remember one scenes out of my 85 films in a span of 30 years of my career? But yes, the first shot of my first film ‘Prem’ where I was so nervous doing it, I can still remember that nervousness. I had to walk down a 100 stairs wearing this larger than life gown looking pretty and keeping a smile on my face without looking down. It was a typical Hindi film heroine scene. I felt it was really stupid. I wondered how wouldn’t I look down. I would walk but wouldn’t smile, I was frightened. I was expected to romantically smile. It was difficult for me to fathom that. That has really stayed with me as an experience.
Q. What kind of preparation did you do for your role in ‘Missing’?
Tabu: Reading the script was my preparation. The director definitely helped me a lot.
Q. Manoj Bajpayee and you have worked 18 years ago. Has anything changed in him or your chemistry over the years?
Tabu: Physically, Manoj ji hasn’t changed a bit. He’s looking much younger infact. I was in tension in Mauritius. Manoj ji has gotten so thin that I started feeling fat. Manoj ji has developed suave for sure. This film is not the one that had to focus on the physicality of a person. He was painfully shy and got troubled very easily and I used to trouble him purposely during ‘Ghaath’ and ‘Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar’. I used to like watching him getting very embarrassed. But now he isn’t that shy.
Q. Do box office numbers matter to you especially after delivering a ‘Golmaal’?
Tabu: It’s great to have a 200 or 300 Crore film.